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Caminiti Unanimous NL MVP Pick


By Ronald Blum
AP Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 13, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ken Caminiti, who led San Diego into the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, became the fourth unanimous winner of the NL Most Valuable Player Award on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old third baseman became the first Padres player to win the award in the 28-year history of the team. Jeff Bagwell (1994), Mike Schmidt (1980) and Orlando Cepeda (1967) were the only other unanimous picks.

Mike Piazza of Los Angeles was second with 18 second-place votes and 237 points, followed by Ellis Burks of Colorado with five second-place votes and 186 points. Chipper Jones of Atlanta was fourth (158) and Barry Bonds of San Francisco was fifth (132).

Caminiti set Padres records with 40 homers, 130 RBIs and a .621 slugging percentage, and led the NL during the second half in average (.360), homers (28) and RBIs (81).

homer.jpg (114491 bytes)
 cami91.jpg (67448 bytes) His most memorable performance came Aug. 18 at Monterrey, Mexico, where the Padres and Mets were playing the first regular-season games outside of the United States and Canada.

Battling dehydration and an upset stomach, Caminiti took two liters of intravenous fluid just before the series finale, then hit two homers for four RBIs in an 8-0 win over New York.

He refused to be sidelined by injuries, including a torn left rotator cuff that required postseason surgery, a right hamstring strain, a severe groin strain and back trouble.

And his defense was even more spectacular than in 1995, when he won his first Gold Glove award. His most outstanding play came April 22 at Florida, when he threw out Greg Colbrunn from the seat of his pants.

Caminiti, who had a $3.05 million salary, earned a $100,000 bonus. Andres Galarraga of the Rockies gets a $100,000 bonus for finishing in a sixth-place tie with Florida's Gary Sheffield, and Burks and Jones earned $50,000 each.

Copyright 1996 The Associated Press